Artists, managers, and music journalists alike all drool over being placed on major online music publications, but like it or not, the tide is changing. The fast-rising arena of streaming platforms is undeniably dominant in today’s music industry landscape. And for the more casual fan, streaming platforms offer easily accessed and neatly packaged playlists. In a rather short period of time, playlists have become all the rage, and as strange as it sounds, getting your music selected on playlists curated by influencers can be much more impactful than a blog post on a major digital publication.
1. You're reaching a large new demographic of listeners
Casual fans don’t want to spend hours upon hours searching for the most promising up-and-coming acts; they want great music to be spooned to them. And while one may think all music nerds are one in the same, the demographic of listeners change depending on the platform, so the same people who scour SoundCloud aren’t necessarily playlist maestros on Spotify.
By being placed on a playlist with a dedicated following, you have the chance to reach new sets of ears – and when working to build a fanbase from the ground up, that kind of opportunity is priceless. It’s on you to encourage listeners to visit your more personal digital locations (SoundCloud, Twitter, your website, etc.) and ensure that they become long-term fans, but a playlist placement opens a door you don’t necessarily have the key to.
2. Being grouped in with nationally known artists gives you validity
An unfortunate reality of the blog world is that people will only click on the names they’ve heard before, leaving your big premiere at the bottom of the totem pole in comparison to high-profile releases. Being grouped in a diverse playlist helps avoid that problem. While you shouldn’t need a co-sign of approval to earn validity, it certainly doesn’t hurt with the independent music industry being so competitive.
Being placed in great company puts your work on a higher pedestal. If the playlist creator is doing his or her job correctly, your music will be seamlessly heard in transition with the fine work of others, and happy listeners are likely to be open-minded when hearing your work.
3. There's a greater potential for financial rewards
Getting prime coverage on multiple blogs can be quite rewarding in terms of song play counts, but website clicks give that money to the blogs, rather putting it into your pocket. Now, we aren’t going to compare streaming revenue with the likes of massive views from a music video on your personal YouTube account, but there's potential to make a decent amount of money if your music lands on a globally visited playlist.
When considering the sad reality of how many blogs charge artists, only for them to copy and paste their press release and SoundCloud embed link, the payment structure of streaming services (which still needs to be improved) becomes welcoming!
4. Social media sharing can increase
When a playlist features anywhere from 15 to 50 songs, a large number of artists are represented and are likely to share the playlist with their own fanbases. When a music publication writes a blog post about you, they reach their social media followers and you consequently share the link with your own fans. The scale tips toward the former when calculating just how many people you can reach via social media.
Cross promotion is a powerful marketing approach, and when your music is featured on a playlist filled with artists thriving on social media, the heavy lifting is automatically done for you. Digital word of mouth can travel like wildfire, so make sure your social media accounts are locked and loaded, because if you make it on a popular playlist, fans will flock to your accounts very quickly.
Eric Bernsen is a marketing/public relations professional and music journalist who specializes in the genre of hip-hop. You can find more of his work at HITPmusic.com (where he is an editor/writer) as well as HipHop-N-More.com, where he contributes album reviews. Follow Eric on Twitter @ebernsen.